Chip Sebens: “Quantum Mechanics as Classical Physics”

Hi Everybody,

For our first talk of the semester, Chip Sebens will be giving a talk entitled “Quantum Mechanics as Classical Physics” on Wednesday, October 22nd. The talk will be held from 4:00-6:00pm in Room 404, Silver Center (NYU)**.The abstract for his talk is below. Hope to see you all there!

“Quantum Mechanics as Classical Physics”
Chip Sebens, University of Michigan

In Newton’s physics, to determine how a body will move one simply needs to add up the various forces acting on it: gravitational, electric, magnetic, etc.  This framework is generally taken to be inadequate for explaining the quantum behavior of subatomic particles like electrons and protons.  We are told to revise our classical picture of the world in favor of a quantum one.  I will argue that if we can stomach the existence of parallel worlds, distinct from our own but no less real, we can account for quantum phenomena without overthrowing Newton’s mechanics; without (at the fundamental level) introducing wave functions, Schrödinger’s equation, superpositions, entanglement, etc. In addition to the normal forces, a new quantum force is introduced which explains why particles don’t follow classical trajectories (in fact, they end up following essentially the same trajectories as particles in Bohmian mechanics).  This approach is arrived at by taking seriously the ways in which quantum mechanics resembles hydrodynamics.

There will be a dinner after the talk. Only the speaker’s dinner will be covered, but all faculty and graduate students are welcome. If you are interested, please email as soon as possible so that we can make the reservation for the appropriate number of people. If you have any other questions, please email

** The Silver Center is at 100 Washington Square East. See here: GOOGLE MAP

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